Like most mothers, shopping for clothes is a constant struggle. The pieces I love aren’t practical, and many often don’t fit. Finding the perfect “mom bathing suit” adds two more layers: modesty and body image. It seems that every trip to the dressing room ends up sparking an internal war between my shadow selves.
In one corner, we have Marge. She’s the judgmental one. I picture her as an older lady with nothing to do except stare out her window and JUDGE…although she wouldn’t dare set foot outside. In the other corner, we have Jen. She’s a super basic cheerleader type with big boobs and beach waves. Also, she’s kind of a bitch.
Here’s how it usually goes down:
Me: Ooh! This bikini is cute! I like that it crosses in the back instead of tying behind the neck. And the triangle top doesn’t scream “mom bathing suit.” Let me try this on…
Marge: News flash! You aren’t 25 anymore! At some point, triangle tops and Brazilian bottoms are just embarrassing. Give it up, old lady.
Me: Okay, how about this retro, high-waisted one?
Jen: Eeeew! So not sexy. Scott wants to see you as his ocean goddess, but this one just says “I had a kid and my belly button is stretched out.” See how it wrinkles over the top like a tiny butt crack? Total mom bathing suit.
Me: Ummm….I’ll just try this one-piece then.
Marge: THAT’S more like it.
Jen: Ohhhhh nononononono…. You look like Little Miss Sunshine at the beauty pageant. You know, with the belly all puffed out? Maybe skip the beach and go to the gym instead.
Eventually, I tell both of them to shut the hell up. I pick a suit that’s basic and unexciting, but solves all my problems. My checklist goes like this:
- Must not tie behind the neck
- Must minimize the risk of nip slip
- Must not give me a wedgie
- Must not have a side tie that James will pull, resulting in a full frontal flashing of the entire kiddie pool
So I throw it on and feel blah. Or in other words, I feel like a total mom.
I used to open my swimwear drawer, inhale the scent of Woolite with a hint of chlorine and get excited. I could almost feel the sun on my shoulders, smell the Banana Boat, and taste the salt spray. Now I just feel bored.
But what if there was a happy medium? What if I could find one that checked every box, and made me feel truly comfortable? Here are three options I’m stalking in hopes that at least one will end up on the end-of-summer sale rack.
The One-Piece: Women’s Solid & Striped The Jennifer One-Piece Swimsuit
Remember that Body Glove one piece all the older girls had when we were in middle school? This is like the updated, more grown-up version of that. I love that it’s high cut in the front, but still has good coverage in the back. And those cut-outs on the side make it sexy without trying too hard.
The Bikini: Women’s Rye Sizzle Bikini
I’m a sucker for sporty, 70’s-inspired styles and this bikini is no exception. With its stripes and rainbow borders, it’s playful and sexy without being overly revealing. I also love the cut on the bottoms; it’s somewhere between a Brazilian cut and the classic bikini bottom, so I won’t feel like I’m showing too much cheek.
The Rashguard: Women’s Billabong Sol Searcher Bodysuit
I’m starting to get really concerned about how much sun exposure I’m getting. It seems like my arms are always exposed, and my stomach bears the brunt of our beach trips. This rashguard-meets-one piece provides the coverage I’m craving without saying “I’m trying really hard to look like I surf.” And I love the cutouts on the chest!